Welcome to Wisdom Wednesday. Because of a family event, today’s collection of items was prepared late last week. If late breaking events have occurred, you may want to check with National Catholic Reporter, La Croix International, the Associated Press, or other sources of reliable reporting.
This week we have links to articles about the Synod, women deacons, the moral lesson of Trump’s indictment and the settlement for the descendants of Henrietta Lacks whose cancer cells have helped modern medicine for decades. Also, some research on how we see ourselves as religious Americans compared to how others see us. We will wrap up this week’s search for wisdom with an article from the Black Catholic Messenger on what not to say if you are pursuing racial harmony.
In Lisbon, Pope Francis calls out the West. On the first day of his journey to Portugal, Pope Francis addresses Western Catholics, urging them not to be discouraged by secularization.
What does the Instrumentum Laboris, and the entire Synod process so far, say about women in the Church and the possibility of women’s ordination to the diaconate? Phyllis Zagano examines the document for Commonweal.
Unity or brokenness
Bodies get sick. In the Christian Century, Milissa Florer-Bixler examines “What becomes of a church body when we enact unity at the table while ignoring our brokenness?”
The U.S. bishops’ conference has released the names of headlining speakers for next year’s Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis. At NCR, Michael Sean Winters offers his opinion: “Wouldn’t it have been nice if they had found at least some speakers who were not from the Steubenville wing of the church?”
Moral lessons in Trump’s indictment
“I want to play poker with Laura Ingraham. She isn’t a very good liar.” That’s from Michael Sean Winters, in another column offered this week. He says it is hard for those whose job it is to provide cover for Trump following the damning indictment.
In the Trump indictments, something more than democracy is at stake: the truth itself, says Jesuit Bill McCormick, in America. He says Christians can play a special role in the renewal of our politics.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reaffirmed its support for gender-affirming medical care for transgender children on last week, even as the treatments face a growing push for bans and restrictions from Republican lawmakers across the U.S. The board of directors for the group, which represents 67,000 pediatricians, unanimously voted to reaffirm its 2018 position on the treatments.
Settlement for ‘HeLa’ cells
Henrietta Lacks’ family will receive an historic settlement, as Thermo Fisher Scientific agreed to the deal following a 2021 lawsuit that sought compensation for decades of unauthorized use of the genetic material obtained in 1951. Her fast-multiplying “HeLa” cells, obtained illicitly from her body after her death in 1951 and since used to make various breakthroughs in medical research.
Where once were shackles, hope has foothold
At a place called ground zero for slavery in North America, a writer for the Christian Science Monitor found a space for reflection about social progress that’s been haltingly made – and about the hard work still to be done.
Freedom to vote
Faithful America, which describes itself as the largest online community of grassroots Christians acting for social justice, is seeking support to “make sure that the Senate knows that Christians support the Freedom to Vote Act.”
Feed the hungry? Not in Houston
Houston volunteers face thousands in fines for feeding homeless, according to the Guardian. Police have issued 44 tickets in a crackdown on food sharing after the mayor vowed to ‘retake’ the downtown public library.
Sinead O’Connor for Gen X women
For NCR Kaya Oakes paid homage to O’Connor, who died on July 26, writing that “for Gen X women in particular…and Gen X women who grew up Catholic even more so, she represented us in a way no other celebrities did.”
Know your congregation
If you serve a parish (or two or three), and if your congregation is like the rest of the country, you should know that dads now make up 18 percent of stay-at-home parents – up from 11 percent in 1989, according to Census Bureau data. Fathers who didn’t work for pay in 2021 gave varied reasons, including illness or disability (34 percent), family caregiving (23 percent), and being retired or unable to find work (13 percent each).
How we are vs. how we are seen
Despite considerable evidence that the United States is more religious than other wealthy nations, a median of only 23 percent of adults across 23 surveyed nations see the U.S. that way. Far more in these countries say the U.S. is either about as religious or less religious than other wealthy nations.
Opus Dei is mundane?
To describe Opus Dei as mundane would likely strike most readers as odd, if not perverse. After all, the group has been embroiled in controversy since its birth, attracting criticism for its secretive practices, collusion in Francisco Franco’s dictatorship in Spain, and rigidly conservative beliefs. But the literal meaning of “mundane” is “of this world” — and this is how Opus Dei understands itself.
Brazil: Killing indigenous people
An unprecedented number of Indigenous people were killed during former President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration. Most homicides were committed by ranchers or illegal miners, loggers, and fishermen who invaded Indigenous territories. The Bishops’ Conference collected the grim statistics.
La Croix International takes a summer break during the month of August. To fill the gap, some of the most relevant columns by Bob Mickens and Massimo Faggioli are repeated, features that you may have missed or would like to read again.
Friendly rules of thumb for race relations
In the Black Catholic Messenger, Ralph Moore Jr. lays out the basics of racial harmony from the perspective of (tired) African Americans. For example, he says, If a Black person introduces you to a sibling, don’t ask, “Same father, same mother?” Here are some simple rules to for Whites to make racial relationships peaceful and interactions more smooth. Do take heed.
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